As the front person for Victorian roots and soul band The Teskey Brothers, Josh Teskey has become one of Australia’s most respected vocalists over the past half-decade. And Teskey’s voice is increasingly in demand.
In 2020, he teamed up with Ash Grunwald on the Delta blues homage, Push the Blues Away. The following year, Teskey joined Delta Goodrem for a cover of INXS’ “Never Tear Us Apart” on ABC’s The Sound. More recently, Teskey partnered with Emma Donovan to record a cover of the late Archie Roach’s “Get Back to the Land” and appeared on Jimmy Barnes’ new album Soul Deep 30.
Through mid-to-late August, Teskey will deliver seven intimate, blues-inspired performances across venues in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, exclusively for Lexus Encore members. Lexus Encore is the luxury vehicle maker’s owner benefits program, which provides members with priority service, as well as access to exclusive lifestyle events.
Teskey’s upcoming performances belong in the latter category. He’ll be accompanied throughout the Lexus Encore Sessions by pianist and former Saskwatch member Olaf Scott. “He’s just a legend and such a beautiful player,” Teskey says of his accompanist. “He’s got that honky tonk kind of sound that he can do.”
At each performance, Lexus Encore members will tuck into a four-course dinner designed to evoke the history of the blues. There’ll be smoked meats, oysters, and mac and cheese, as well as a curated range of premium American bourbons. Teskey’s performances will follow suit.
“I’m trying to bring that blues-inspired vibe,” he says. “I’m a really keen harmonica player, so I’m trying to bring that real sort of Delta blues sound to the night.”
The Teskey Brothers recently decamped to Sydney’s Hercules Street Studios to begin work on their third album. It’s been three years since the band’s second studio LP, Run Home Slow, but they’re not rushing things. “It’s early days,” says Teskey. “One foot in front of the other and you get yourself an album I think is the idea.”
The Teskey Brothers—comprising Josh and his brother, guitarist and producer Sam Teskey, along with bass player Brendon Love and drummer Liam Gough—have been on an upwards ascent since Half Mile Harvest came out in January 2017. Run Home Slow built on the success of the band’s debut, earning the Teskeys a #2 spot on the ARIA charts and securing the Warrandyte group legions of fans from Melbourne to Sydney, Amsterdam to London.
Even during the pandemic years, the Teskeys kept the ball rolling. The band released not one, but two live albums over the last couple of years, and Sam Teskey earned a Grammy nomination for Best Engineered Album. The former of the two live albums, 2020’s Live at the Forum, was The Teskey Brothers’ first ARIA number one.
For the time being, however, Josh says the pressure is off. “That second album thing feels like a lot more pressure,” he says. “This feels a bit more free to just let the songs make their own decisions. It feels like there’s more room to move and let it be a bit more natural, whereas we felt a bit more pressure with Run Home Slow.”
In addition to Sam Teskey’s Grammy nomination, the Teskey Brothers have been showered in industry accolades at home. Run Home Slow was named Best Blues & Roots Album at the 2019 ARIA Awards, while the Teskeys were named Best Group and Sam Teskey nabbed Engineer of the Year.
The band repeated the honour the following year when Live at the Forum won the ARIA for Best Blues & Roots Album. In 2021, the Run Home Slow single, “Rain”, was named Most Performed R&B/Soul Work at the APRA Awards.
“I feel really proud of everything we’ve done so far,” says Teskey. “I feel really proud to have brought this genre and this kind of rootsy stuff into—not that we’re right out in the mainstream—but we’ve brought it out into a wide world of listeners.”
He adds, “It feels cool to be a part of a resurgence of this rootsy sort of stuff and this old school ways of doing things. And anything that happens now is just bonus.”
The Teskey Brothers are one of Australia’s most popular live acts, but the opportunity to see Josh Teskey in stripped-down mode is a rare one. His Lexus Encore Sessions setlists will include a few of the Teskey Brothers’ bluesier deep cuts, such as “Shiny Moon” and “Reason Why” from 2017’s Half Mile Harvest.
Teskey will also play various tracks from he and Grunwald’s Push the Blues Away LP and “some classic blues covers,” he says.